Nawab of Dhaka

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Nawabs of Dhaka)
Nawab Sir Salimullah celebrating the Eid Day with his family at the Ahsan Manzil palace

The Nawab of Dhaka was the largest Muslim zamindar in British Bengal. The title of Nawab, similar to the British peerage, was conferred upon the head of the family by the British Raj as a recognition of their loyalty in the time of the Sepoy Mutiny.[1] The self-definition[2] is a family instead of an estate due to certain legal considerations imposed by the East Bengal State Acquisition and Tenancy Act of 1950.[3]

They were not sovereigns, but played an important role in the politics of South Asia. The family was owner of Dhaka Nawab estate, and were seated at Ahsan Manzil palace. Nawab of Dhaka was the title of the head of family and estate. Khwaja Alimullah was the first Nawab of Dhaka instated by the British Raj.

Considerable infighting within the Nawab's family lead to the decline of the estate. In 1952 the East Pakistan Estates Acquisition Act formally abolished the estate. Khwaja Habibullah Khan Bahadur was the last reigning Nawab of Dhaka. Successive land reform in Pakistan and Bangladesh brought an end to the remaining landholdings of the Nawab family..



Nawab's Dilkusha Garden, Dhaka (1904) by Fritz Kapp.

The ancestors of the Khwajas were Muslim merchants in Kashmir and North India. The history of Dhaka Nawab Family begins with Khwaja Abdul Kader Kashmiri, who migrated from Kashmir to Sylhet sometimes in the 18th century. He married Asuri Khanam, the daughter of Khwaja Abdul Hakim Kasmiri, an Administrator of Kashmir. Abdul Hakim also migrated to Sylhet and died there. His son Moulvi Khwaja Abdullah, an alem, arrived in Dhaka and settled in Begumbazar. After his death in 1796 he was buried there with Shah Nuri.

  1. Khwaja Abdul Hakim Governor of Kashmir under the Moghul Emperor Mohammad Shah : (? – ?) First to migrate to Bengal from Khashmir, left Kashmir due to the Invasion of India by Nadir Shah .

Father of the following -

  1. Khwaja Abdul Wahab and Khwaja Abdullah.

The history of this family goes back to about the year 1730 when the two brothers – Khwaja Abdul Wahab and Khwaja Abdullah – arrived in Dhaka directly from Kashmir, and settled in a part of old Dhaka known as Begum Bazaar. It is quite obvious that they traveled this long distance in search of their fortune. The elder brother, Khwaja Abdul Wahab, went into business, straightaway, while the younger brother, Khwaja Abdullah, who was a very pious and a learned man, started preaching to the local people the rules and various disciplines of the teachings of Islam. It must have been for this reason that he was addressed as "Moulvi Abdullah"


The transition from Khwaja family to the Dhaka Nawab family was largely founded by Khwaja Hafizullah Kashmiri, a merchant prince of Dhaka, who acquired considerable wealth from trading in leather, salt and spices together with Marwari trading partners. He also purchased some floundering zamindari estates, on sale everywhere in Bengal under Permanent Settlement, and indigo factories in Barisal District and Mymensingh District.

Some of the major land acquisitions of Hafizullah were:

  • Atia pargana in the then Mymensingh district (now in the Tangail district). Hafizullah bought a 4-anna (one fourth) share of the pargana, including Dhamrai, the Atia Mosque built in 1608 and much of Madhupur forest, in 1806 on the strength of a mortgage bond for Rs. 40,000.[4] Profits from this purchase inspired him to buy more land properties.[5]
  • Aila Phuljhuri in the Bakarganj Sundarbans, a 44000 acres (180 km²) area bought for Rs 21000 in 1812, at a revenue demand of only Rs 372 annually. After clearing of the jungle was affected, in the late 1870s, its estimated total rental income appeared as high as Rs 2,20,502.


Due to an absence of any surviving male successor of Hafizullah, his estate on his death descended on his nephew Khwaja Alimullah, son of his deceased elder brother Ahsanullah, whom he groomed as an astute estate manager. His landed acquisitions were added to those of his uncle, consequently making the united zamindari one of the largest in the province. Before his death in 1854, Alimullah made a waqf for a united status of the zamindari which was to be managed jointly by a mutawalli.

It is to be noted that Khwaja Ahsanullah, the eldest son of Moulvi Abdullah, died on his way to pilgrimage in Makkah in 1813. His brother, Khwaja Hafizullah, also started to preach Islam, but, along with it he also engaged himself in doing business. He earned a lot of money by trading in gold, jute, salt and leather and by investing his wealth by purchasing estates of some hereditary Muslim zamindars of East Bengal who were then on the verge of collapse. He upgraded the Khwaja family into a family of Zamindars (land owners).

His nephew, Khwaja Alimullah, who was the third son of Khwaja Ahsanullah, is reported to have been the most enterprising member of the clan, and he laid the foundation upon which successive heads of the family built their prosperity and power. Evidently, he was a handsome man with an eye for business as well as the ladies. In the book on Nawab Salimullah, Alhaj Md. Sirajuddin writes: "Khwaja Alimullah was learned in philosophy. His tutor was the famous Sufi, Shah Furaqi. Khwaja Alimullah practiced medicine in his early life and was one of the most successful doctors of Dhaka. He often said, 'Plato might be superior to me in intelligence but he was not my superior in knowledge.' He had unending thirst for knowledge.

"It was the dynamic Alimullah", writes Almas Zakiuddin, "who, in 1835, purchased Ahsan Manzil from French traders who had been using the building as their factory for many years." He learnt English and encouraged members of his family to learn English, and forged ties of friendship with Englishmen by mixing with them freely. He did some development work for the Dhaka Municipality and many other social welfare activities with the help of the British, who also helped him to set up the Ramna Race course. He purchased the famous diamond, Dariya-e-Noor at a Government auction in 1852. The diamond is presently in a vault of the Sonali Bank in Dhaka.

He made a Waqfnama (Trust Deed) in the service of Allah and gave all the income of his "Ata Pargana" to the poor permanently. In 1846 he made a Waqfnama in favour of his second son Khwaja Abdul Ghani, and made him a powerful Mutawalli (Manager) for the management of all the properties of the Khwaja Family. That famous Waqfnama is reported to be the main key responsible for the success of the Khwaja Family of Dhaka. Khwaja Alimullah died in 1854 and was buried in the Begum Bazar graveyard.

Khwaja Abdul Hakim, the eldest son of Khwaja Alimullah from his first wife was to become the Mutawalli, but due to internal family politics and being a very simple and deeply religious person and to safeguard the family gave up the interest in business or finance of the family. Hence, as mentioned above, Khwaja Abdul Ghani, his second son from his second wife, was made the Mutawalli.

Khwaja Abdul Hakim's descendants -

Khwaja Mansur, Khwaja Mashkur, Khwaja Moheb, Khwaja Aref, Khwaja Zarrar, Khwaja Nadim, Nawabzadi Sarah and her younger sister Nawabzadi Sadiyah.


On the succession of Khwaja Abdul Ghani (son of Alimullah) to the management that the prosperity of the house reached its zenith. Under him the land control of the family was extended to many parganas in the districts of Dhaka, Bakerganj, Tripura, and Mymensingh. For management he split the zamindari into 26 sub-circles, each governed by a kachari (office) headed by a naib (manager) with a number of amlas (officials). He was vested with the personal title of Nawab in 1875, which was made hereditary in 1877.

With Khwaja Abdul Ghani the Khwaja family for the first time developed interest in the politics and social works of the country. He also organised Dhaka people into panchayet mahallas, which was endorsed by the British Raj in view of his support to the Raj during the Sepoy Mutiny.

In his book, Vignettes of India, Sir Percival Griffiths, I. C. S. has devoted a chapter entitled "An East Bengal interlude" in which he has written very briefly about the Dhaka Nawab Family and his impressions about some of the personalities. He was appointed Chief Manager of the Dacca Nawab Estate in April 1929. He writes: "Abdul Ghani and the Moslems of East Bengal stood firmly by the Raj during the Indian Mutiny and for his services, Abdul Ghani was not only knighted, but also had the title of Nawab conferred upon him. He was made a Nawab in 1875, (and this title was made hereditary in 1877 for the eldest male member of the line) and Nawab Bahadur in 1892."

Nawab Abdul Ghani made several contributions towards benevolent and charitable work, not only in the city and elsewhere in Bengal but also beyond the Indian subcontinent. His most conspicuous public act was the water works system in Dhaka city. The filtered water was supplied free of charge to the people of Dhaka. In addition he established a number of schools, madrasas and donated funds for the Mitford hospital in Dhaka, Kolkata Medical College and Aligarh College. He supported women to act in dramas in spite of the opposition of leaders of the conservative society. At the beginning of the Christian era, each year, he arranged a grand fair in Shahbagh Garden, and maintained a Portuguese Band to entertain guests on festive occasions.

In his book Glimpses of old Dhaka, Syed Muhammad Taifoor writes:

"Abdul Ghani had a chae-khana (tea hall) on the river bank where every morning from 8 to 10, he treated people with tea. He took advantage of this opportunity to hear grievances of the people, and took measures to remedy them. Abdul Ghani died in 1896 at the age of 82. The writer remembers to have accompanied his cortege which was followed by no less than one lac of people most of whom had tears in their eyes." A London daily commented on his death: "Today, the morning sun has set, we cannot hope that it will rise in a thousand years." His acts of public and private charity were very numerous and magnificent. In aid of schools and colleges, hospitals and dispensaries, clubs and societies, mosques and tombs (mazaars), the sick the poor, he spent very large sums. His charity was not confined to his country or nationality."

Nawab Abdul Ghani handed over the responsibility of the Dhaka Nawab Estate to his eldest son, Khwaja Ahsanullah on 11 September 1868, but continued to supervise the estate until his death on 24th August 1896.


Ahsan Manzil palace, seat of the Nawab and the family

Nawab Sir Khwaja Ahsanullah, Abdul Ghani's son, adopted a unique strategy to consolidate the zamindari control that was threatened by the operation of the Bengal Tenancy Act, 1885. When this Act was enacted, he started buying off intermediate tenures and raiyati rights with family surplus and settling them as khas. Under this arrangement the Khwajas became their own tenants. This strategy kept much of the estate intact when the zamindari system was abolished in 1951.

Khwaja Ahsanullah, was born in Dhaka in the year 1846. He was reported to be a natural Urdu poet and his pen name was "Shaheen". He was known to compose verses spontaneously, and at the spur of the moment at the request of his friends. His songs disclose a joyous and optimistic outlook on life. His selected poems, Kulliat-e-Shaheen is preserved in the Dhaka University. His book, Tawariq-e-Khandan-e-Kashmiria is a very important addition to Urdu literature and history. "He was a man of such influence that he was known as the uncrowned King of East Bengal and for his many public services he received the title of Nawab Bahadur" writes Sir Percival Griffiths.

Both father and son had the title of Nawab conferred upon them in 1875, and in 1877, this title was made hereditary for the eldest member of the line.

"Nawab Ahsanullah maintained a tireless vigil on mass education, and donated generously for various worthy causes. He established the Ahsanullah School of Engineering, and being thoughtful of the health of the residents of Dhaka he, along with his father, contributed towards the establishment of a water tank from which filtered water would be supplied to the citizens of Dhaka as far back as 1874. There is no Mosque, Mausoleum, or important public institution in Dhaka which does not bear the stamp of his magnificence", writes Syed Muhammad Taifoor. "The electricity in Dhaka was installed by him in the year 1901, which must have been shortly before he died that year in December during the month of Ramadhan. He died of heart failure on board his barge, soon after the death of his father, and he was buried in the family graveyard.


Nawab Salimullah, the eldest son of Ahsanullah took up the management of the zamindari in 1902. But soon family feuds started and Salimullah lost the grip on the estate. The estate management deteriorated to the extent of rising revenue arrears and estate debts. For political considerations, the government backed up Nawab Salimullah financially, which included a confidential official loan to Salimullah (1912) to clear up his personal debts.

Nawab Khwaja Salimullah of Dhaka and the Muslim aristocrats who formed the bulwark of the Muslim League in 1906 inspired Muslim peasants against the Swadeshi movement (1905–1911) in support of Partition of Bengal. Together with Nawab Ali Chowdhury, he was instrumental in initiating A. K. Fazlul Huq into politics, who isolated Muslim League from peasants and defeated Sir Khwaja Nazimuddin at the Patuakhali Constituency in the election of 1937. Dhaka Nawab Family, together with the Ispahanis of Kolkata still kept a firm grip on a majority of Muslim students while the Bengal chapter of the All India Muslim Students Association was renamed as All Bengal Muslim Students League in 1938.

The tottering Dhaka Nawab Estate was brought under the Court of Wards in September 1907. The first steward of the Estate was HCF Meyer who was followed by LG Pillen, PJ Griffith, and PD Martin, all members of the Indian civil service.

"Nawab Sir Khwaja Salimullah Bahadur, G.C.I.E., as he was officially addressed, was born on 7th June, 1871, and according to the tradition of the Nawab Family," writes Alhaj Muhammad Sirajuddin, "he was educated at home by a British and a German teacher, and experts in Urdu and Persian. He married in August 1893, and in the same year he joined Government Service as a Deputy Magistrate. He spent a year in Mymensingh and was then transferred to Muzaffarpur in Bihar. One of the reasons why he joined Government Service would appear to be, a strained relationship with his father, Nawab Ahsanullah." According to Syed Muhammad Taifur in his book Glimpses of Old Dhaka, "his father did not like him perhaps on account of his extreme religious proclivities. So he kept to himself, aloof from him, and the Government, in consideration of his family prestige, straightaway appointed him a Deputy Magistrate in the senior rank."

On 16th. December, 1901, while he was posted in Mymensingh, he received a telegram informing him of the death of his father, and on his arrival in Dhaka the next morning, as the eldest son, and with the "unanimous consent of all parties concerned" was installed as the new Nawab. i

Nawab Salimullah was a great educational reformer, and like his father, was inclined to prodigal liberality. He was a great philanthropist, rendering financial assistance to many poor students, and established the largest orphanage of undivided Bengal, which was named "Salimullah Muslim Orphanage". For the benefit of Muslim students he donated the well-known "Salimullah Muslim Hall" in Dhaka, which was then the largest residential Hall in any Asian University.

Nawab Salimuilah is mainly remembered today for three of his greatest achievements. Firstly, the part he played in the partition of Bengal which was implemented on 16 October 1905, aimed at freeing the Bengali Muslims from the bondage of Hindu domination, and to secure their socio-economic progress by establishing a separate Muslim majority province; secondly, for being the founder of such a strong political party as the All India Muslim League in December 1906, and the establishment of Dhaka University in 1912.

Sir Percival Griffiths, who was Chief Manager of the Dhaka Nawab Estate in 1929, writes in his book, The Vignettes of India, obviously from a British point of view: "Ahsanullah's son, Sir Salimullah, succeeded to his father's influence and was a staunch supporter of the British Government at the time of the Partition of Bengal in 1905. Bengal at that time consisted of much of Bihar and Orissa and West Bengal as well as East Bengal and Assam. East Bengal and Assam, with a majority Moslem population, were detached from Bengal and created into a separate province- The Hindus, who formed the majority of politically conscious people in Bengal, were at once up in arms.

In this critical period, Salimullah rendered great support to the Government and carried out a protracted campaign in which he explained the wisdom of the action taken. Some years later, the British Government surrendered to the Hindu agitation and annulled partition, creating two provinces, Bihar and Orissa, reconstituted Bengal, and separated Assam as a separate unit under a Chief Commissioner- This change of policy may or may not have been wise, but unfortunately no previous warning of it was given and on the evening before the annulment was announced, Salimullah addressed a meeting in support of Partition. The announcement thus came as a great shock and the archives of the Dacca Nawab Estate in my time included a pathetic letter from Salimullah, written immediately after the annulment, in which he declared that he would never again trust a promise by the British Government or the word of an Englishman.

As has so often happened in the great families of India, after three generations of splendour, the Nawab Family now entered on a period of decline. Extravagant living and the necessity of maintaining an ever-increasing number of dependants were the main causes of the trouble, but to them must be added, the considerable sums spent by Ahsanullah and Salimuilah on public service or pro-Partition propaganda. The family was heavily in debt and in view of the political importance of the family, its estates were brought under the Court of Wards in 1909.

"As a result of the Moslem law of inheritance the family became so split up that many of its members lived on less than the salary of a petty clerk – they just slummed it in the Palace, the Ahsan Manzil, in which they were entitled to live. Fortunately, one portion of the family property was protected against this splitting up by the creation of what was known as 'Waqf Trust' in which the property was nominally dedicated to God, but was in fact enjoyed by the 'mutawalli'. or manager. He enjoyed its income though he could not alienate the property and on his death it merely passed to another mutawalli."

Sir Salimullah was the first man of the Nawab Family of Dhaka to actively participate in politics. He is reported to have said that, his grandfather, Nawab Sir Abdul Ghani, and his father, Nawab Khwaja .Ahsanullah, were men of international renown and were imbibed with the love of their country and people, but, they refrained from participating in politics. It was in his destiny to open the door to politics for the Nawab Family of Dhaka.

Nawab Salimullah died in Calcutta on 16th. January, 1915, and his coffin was brought to Dhaka by a special launch, and he was buried in the family graveyard in Begum Bazar."


The Dhaka Nawab Estate was abolished in 1952 under the East Bengal Estate Acquisition and Tenancy Act (1950). Only the Ahsan Manzil complex and khas lands held under raiyati rights were exempted from the operation of the Acquisition Act. But due to many unresolved family claims many assets of the Estate were still controlled by the Court of Wards. The land reforms board, which is the successor of the Court of Wards, still holds those assets on behalf of the family.

The influence of Dhaka Nawab family on the Muslim Students League eroded after the partition, particularly after Muhammad Ali Jinnah's pronouncement on the state language issue in 1948. The anti-Khwaja faction of the Muslim League broke away from the All Bengal Muslim Students League, and established East Pakistan Muslim Students League in 1948. This Students League spearheaded the Language Movement that began that year.

Brief genealogy

Pre-Nawabi heads of the family and the estate

  1. Khwaja Abdul Kader Kashmiri: (??) First migrated to Bengal from Delhi. Father of the following.
  2. Khwaja Abdullah: (? – 1796) Settled in Dhaka.
  3. Khwaja Hafizullah: (? – 1795)

List of the Nawabs of Dhaka

  1. Nawab Khwaja Alimullah: (? – 1858) First to assume the title of Nawab.
  2. Nawab Sir Khwaja Abdul Ghani Mian KCSI: (1813–1896) First to assume the title of Nawab as hereditary. Second Nawab of the family.
  3. Nawab Sir Khwaja Ahsanullah KCIE: (1846–1901) Third Nawab of the family.
  4. Nawab Bahadur Sir Khwaja Salimullah GCIE, KCSI: (1871–1915) Fourth Nawab of the family.
  5. Nawab Bahadur Khwaja Habibullah: (1895–1958) Fifth Nawab of the family.
  6. Nawab Bahadur Nawab Khwaja Hassan Askari: (1920–1984) First inheritor of the estate after abolition of titles. Sixth Nawab of the family.
  7. Nawab Bahadur Nawab Khwaja Habibullah Askari lives in New York in exile
  8. Khawaja Amanullah Askari lives in Islamabad, Pakistan. He is married to Miangul Ishrat an heiress of the Wali of Swat
  9. 9.Nawab khawaja Tofeal Ahmed: second last son of the last nawab of Dhaka Nawabjada Khawaja Habibullah. He died on 18th feb 1972. He was a freedom fighter and a very close acquaintance of Bangabondhu. He had helped Sheikh Mujibur Rahman for Bangladesh's freedom. He was shot by the locals of Bangladesh as he was elected to become the State MP. He was shot in front of his greenhouse in Shahbag. The shooters had robbed his house and his cars too. Nawabjada Khawaja Tofeal Ahmed success costed him a lot.

Other members of the family

Extended kin of the Dhaka Nawab Family, mostly bearing the family name Khwaja, though not part of the direct lineage, featured prominently in the history of Bangladesh.

  • Khwaja Hafizullah: (? – 1815) Son of Khwaja Abdullah. Real founder of the estate.
  • Nawabzada Khwaja Atiqullah: (1882–1945) Third son of Khwaja Salimullah.
  • Nawabzadi Meherbanu Khanam: (1902–1954) Daughter of Khwaja Ahsanullah.
  • Nawabzadi Bilquis Bano Begum: (? – ?) Daughter of Khwaja Ahsanullah. Mother of Sir Khwaja Nazimuddin and Khwaja Shahabuddin.
  • Khwaja Yusuf Jan (1850-1923): Politician and recipient of the award Khan Bahadhur.[6]
  • Nawab Begum Raushan Akhtar was born in 1887. Her father was Hafez Mahmud Ali Khan Panni, the Zamindar of Korotia in Tangail district. And her mother came from the Royal Ottoman Family, and was the niece of Sultan Abdul Meccid. Raushan Akhtar was educated at home, and was taught Arabic, Persian, Urdu and English. Raushan Akhtar got married to Nawab Sir Salimullah in 1896. They had three children: Nawabzada Hafizullah, Nawabzada Nasarullah and Nawabzadi Ahmedi Bano Begum. Raushan Akhtar's brother, Wajed Ali Khan Panni worked with and supported Nawab Sir Salimullah for the partition of Bengal, and the formation of Muslim League. In 1913, Wajed Ali Khan Panni held the Muslim Education Conference in Korotia, which Nawab Sir Salimullah chaired. Nawab Begum Raushan Akhtar was widowed in 1915, at the young age of 28, yet never remarried, maintaining a dignified quiet, religious and simple lifestyle, in Purdah. After Independence of Pakistan in 1947, when Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Miss Fatima Jinnah visited Dhaka, Miss Fatima Jinnah called on Nawab Begum Raushan Akhtar, who was the youngest and only surviving Begum of Nawab Salimullah. Nawab Begum Raushan Akhtar, dressed simply in her usual plain white cotton sari, received Miss Fatima Jinnah in the Durbar Hall of the Ahsan Manzil Palace, where both of them sat on the gold and silver throne-chairs. Muhammad Ali Jinnah was received outside, in the gardens of Ahsan Manzil Palace, by her stepson, Nawab Bahadur Habibullah. Nawab Begum Raushan Akhtar died in 1917 in Karachi, where she was visiting her granddaughter.
  • Nawabzada Khwaja Nasarullah: (1907-1955) was the Son of Nawab Sir Salimullah and Nawab Begum Raushan Akhtar (of Korotia, Tangail) was born on 11 July 1907. He was educated at St.Pauls School Darjeeling, Taluqdar College Lucknow, MAO College Delhi and Aligarh University. He married his first-cousin Jahanara Begum, the daughter of Syed Abdul Aziz Chowdhury and Nawabzadi Amena Bano Begum, in 1923. Nawabzada Nasarullah was the Vice Chairman of Dhaka Municipality. He Played a role of Police Commissioner in the first ever film of East Bengal "Last Kiss" ("Shukumari"), which was shot in Dilkusha Gardens, Dhaka. He was also a member of the censor board at that time and was involved in two other films named 'Nazma' and 'Babul'. Khwaja Nasarullah was appointed the Parliamentary Secretary for Civil Supply under the Muslim League and Krishak Praja Party Coalition Government in Bengal during 1937-1943. In 1943 he was made the Governor of Calcutta. On the insistence of Nawabzada Nasarullah the British Government agreed to hand back the Dariya-e-Noor diamond to the Dhaka Nawab Family in 1948. Nawabzada Nasarullah guarded and accompanied by Indian Army soldiers up till the border with East Pakistan brought back the diamond to Dhaka. Nawabzada Khwaja Nasarullah invited Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy and Maulana Abdul Khan Bhashani to his house in Dilkusha Gardens in 1948, where they sat together in a political discussion. He Served as Chief Whip from 1947 to 1953. In 1953, Nawabzada Nasarullah was appointed Pakistan's Deputy High Commissioner in Calcutta. Nawabzada Khwaja Nasarullah died in Calcutta in June 1955, aged 45 years. Nawabzada Nasarullah had five sons namely, Khwaja Reshad Nasarullah, Khwaja Khalid Nasarullah, Khwaja Shoib Nasarullah, Khwaja Zaid Nasarullah, and Khwaja Masood Nasarullah.He also had six daughters Begum Effat Kadri, Begum Nurjahan Kermani, Begum Riffat Nawab, Begum Attiya Ahmad, Begum Rokaiya Ali and Begum Hanifa Nawab.
  • Nawabzada Khwaja Ahsanullah: (1915–1981)
  • Begum Shamsunnahar Khwaja Ahsanullah (Wife of Nawabzada Khwaja Ahsanullah,[7] former leader of the BNP, former BNP MP from 1991-1996,[8] 1996,[9] 2001-2006[10])
  • Nawab Khwaja Yusuf Jan, Khan Bahadur: (1850–1923) Builder of modern sewerage system in Dhaka, founder of the Mohammedan Association, and a leading agitator in favor of Partition of Bengal. A member of the Dhaka Municipality (1884–1923), Chairman of Dhaka Municipality (1897–1901; 1905–1916) and Vice-Chairman (1901–1905) of Dhaka Municipality. Chairman (1921–1923) and Vice-Chairman (1897–1905) of Dhaka District Board. Member of the East Bengal Legislative Assembly since 1907, as a representative of the municipalities of Dhaka Division. Honorary Magistrate of Dhaka for 28 years. He was awarded by the British government a Certificate of Honour (1903) and the titles of Khan Bahadur (1904) and Nawab (1910).
  • Khwaja Muhammad Afzal: (1875–?) Son of Khwaja Yusuf and disciple of noted poet Mahmud Azad, Khwaja Muahammad adopted the pen name Afzal to write diwans in Persian and ghazals in Urdu. His best known work is Gam-e-ma-Paikar, a three volume chronicle in verses.
  • Khwaja Haider Jan Shayek: (?-?) Son of Khwaja Khalilullah, an influential member of the family, Khwaja Fayezuddin adopted the pen name Shayek to write diwans in Urdu. His correspondence with Mirza Ghalib, where Ghalib addressed him as the Parrot of Bengal, is compiled under the title of Inshaye Shayek.
  • Khwaja Abdul Halim: (1921–2006)Son of Khwaja Abdul Gafoor He joined the erstwhile East Pakistan Civil Service. He worked as a Magistrate in Moulvibazar, Sylhet.
  • Khwaja Saifullah: Son of late Nawabzada Khwaja Hafizullah & Grandson of Late Nawab Habibullah Bahadur, Nawab of Dhaka is working as Social compliance & Environmental Advisor in the Clothing Industry Working in GTZ: GERMAN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION a Project of BMZ Germany Federal Ministry of Economics Cooperation & development with Ministry of Commerce Bangladesh Promoting social and environmental standards in clothing Industry.
  • Late Nawajada khawaja tofeal ahmed:(1930-1972) He was fourth son among 5 sons of late nawab khawaja habibuallah bahadar(last nawab).Nawab tofeal was a freedom fighter and gave his life for the country.he was imprisoned in the jail for 8 months during the war of liberation in Bangladesh. He was killed by the miscrantsin 18 February 1972 infront of his greenhouse.he married A J Enayetun noor(ex member of jatia party parliament) in 1968.
  • Khwaja Amanullah Askari lives in Islamabad, Pakistan.
  • Khawaja Sabrina Tofeal; daughter of nawab khawaaja tofeal ahmed (second last son of nawabjada habibuallah bahadur). She has done excellent academic progress in her school life and university life, now she is working in a multinational telecimmunation company in bangladesh.She is married to the youngest son of Dr major general m r chowdhury( who had received the first shadhinota podhok for his contribution in microbiology) shakeel mahmood.They have a daughter named Nanziba.



Extended kin of the Dhaka Nawab Family played a vital role in the history of Urdu-Persian literature in Bengal. Khwaja Haider Jan Shayek, Khwaja Kawkab, Khwaja Atiqullah Sayeda, Khwaja Muhammad Afzal and Khwaja Nazimuddin and others contributed considerably to Urdu and Persian literature in the 19th and 20th centuries. The family maintained close connection with literary figures like Mahmud Azad and Hakim Habibur Rahman.

  • Khwaja Muhammad Azam wrote Islami Panchayet Dhaka (1911) in Urdu. His son, Khwaja Muhammad Adel, co-edited Jadu, a monthly journal with Hakim Habibur Rahman.
  • Khwaja Abdur Rahim Saba (d 1871) wrote Urdu poems. His manuscript, Daste Saba is preserved in the Dhaka University Library.
  • Nawab Khwaja Ahsanullah wrote Urdu poems by his pen-name Shaheen collected in Kulliat-e-Shaheen, and a history of his family collected in Tawarikh-e-Khandan-e-Kashmirian. He was also a composer and lyricist of thumri songs, and a financier of Ahsanul Kasas (15 February 1884), an Urdu weekly magazine of Dhaka.


It was in the later part of the 19th century that the art of photography got its momentum in Dhaka under the patronage of Nawab Khwaja Ahsanullah and his son Nawab Khwaja Salimullah. Khwaja Ahsanullah joined the Calcutta-based Photographic Society of India in 1888.

Palaces of the Nawabs

  1. Ahsan Manzil Palace
  2. Israt Manzil Palace
  3. Nishat Manzil Palace
  4. Shahbag Garden House
  5. Dilkusha Garden House
  6. Paribagh Garden House
  7. Baigunbari Park
  8. Company Bagan
  9. Farhat Manzil
  10. Hafiz Manzil
  11. Nilkuthi Mojibnagar
  12. Mansur Castle

See also


  1. ^ Christophe Jaffrelot and Gillian Beaumont, A History of Pakistan and Its Origins, page 39, Anthem Press, 2004
  2. ^
  3. ^ Muzaffar Ahmed Chaudhuri, Government and Politics in Pakistan, page 257, Puthighar, Dhaka, 1968
  4. ^ Protection of heritage: Judicial response in South Asia by Taslima Islam
  5. ^ Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report – note by GA Grierson
  6. ^ "Yusuf Jan, Khwaja - Banglapedia". Retrieved 2017-09-06. 
  7. ^ "2008 Parliamentary election and the in laws of the Nawab Family". 2008-11-21. Retrieved 2016-12-02. 
  8. ^ "List of 5th Parliament Members". Retrieved 2016-12-02. 
  9. ^ "List of 6th Parliament Members". Retrieved 2016-12-02. 
  10. ^ "Bangladesh Affairs – Member's of 8th Parliament of Bangladesh". Retrieved 2016-12-02. 


  • Ghose, Loknath The Modern History of Indian Chiefs, Rajas & Zaminders, Calcutta,1879
  • Buckland, C.T. Sketches of Social Life in India, London, 1884

External links

  • Official Web Site of the Dhaka Nawab family
  • Akbar, M Ali (2012). "Dhaka Nawab Estate". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. 
Retrieved from ""
This content was retrieved from Wikipedia :
This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article "Nawab of Dhaka"; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA